As I have been away from China for a while, I thought that things would have improved a bit when I returned recently.
As I try to settle down again, re-visit our favourite spots and re-start the old engine to communicate in Chinese again, I’m also reminded of the things I do not miss about mainland China:
1. HOCKING & SPITTING
Spitting almost anywhere and anytime is the most disgusting habit in my book. Imagine this: you’re walking along the street like any normal person would. Suddenly, the old man in front of you clears his throat and hocks out a spit right on the street AND continues walking!
Then, the two ladies who are walking on the other side also decide something’s bugging her throat and goes KUAAAGGGG!!! and PTOOOI…YUCK!!!
There is absolutely no warning and you find disgusting clumps of spit (if you care to look) in the lifts, on the pavement, on the road and of course, in the grass.
Can you believe that even the little kids like to do it? I was quite upset when the boy came home one day and started hocking and spitting after school. I immediately told him to put a stop to it!
Now, he knows how to avoid spit when he’s walking…
2. FIGHTING TO PAY THE BILL
You can find this old habit among most of the mainland Chinese and other Chinese around the world. When a Chinese takes you out for a meal, he/she will be embarrassed if you paid the bill. Thus, they will refuse your offer effusively, sometimes violently (!) by grabbing your hands as you reach for your purse or wallet LOL
I once had to wrangle with one of the Chinese maids when she refused to accept payment for a few hours of work at my place. I was so happy at how well she cleaned up the place that I paid her slightly extra – guess that was the problem.
I couldn’t let her leave empty-handed that I tried hard to stuff the money into her pockets but she grabbed the money and pushed it towards my bewildered little boy, who was amused and confused by our little “tussle”.
In the end, I managed to stuff the money in her handbag when she ran out of the apartment and yelled at the boy to quickly run into the apartment and shut the door! He was quite excited but when he opened the door later to check, he found the money on the floor and said, “Oh-no, Auntie don’t want the money!” Sigh.
Sounds ridiculous? It’s actually quite a common sight at Chinese restaurants over here
3. OBSSESSION WITH CLEANLINESS
Considering that the Chinese spit in public, rub their fingers on the walls after blowing their nose, allow their kids to pee everywhere and throw litter everywhere, I find it *really funny* that they are obsessed with cleanliness.
Seriously, if you visit a Chinese home, you’ll be impressed by squeaky clean floors and windows, sparkling kitchen top, air purifiers, dish sterilizers and all sorts of cleaning agents on sale.
They’ve got covers for their rice cookers and washing machines, which I think is a Korean or Japanese influence
They find eating with fingers absolutely disgusting – the KFC’s and McDonald’s here supply disposable plastic gloves for every serving of fried chicken or chicken wings that you buy. Gosh, I think they even wear these disposable plastic gloves when they bite into a hamburger!
Isn’t it ridiculous that they are so clean with their food and their homes yet they have absolutely no care or concern for cleanliness outside their homes???
Hopefully, they’ll learn that it’s important to be “beautiful on the outside and on the inside“.
4. NOISE, NOISE, NOISE
My Chinese mum once commented,
“A Chinese is noisy from the day they are born to the day they get married until the day that they die.”
I find the deafening shopping mall music that competes with individual stores’ loud music and the generally loud manner of Chinese talking with each other such an assault on my nerves that I avoid a particular mall on weekends and prefer to go for malls that are less crowded and less noisy.
Currently, we live in an apartment, which faces a busy main street with a bus stop – you can imagine the din the honking cars, buses and motorbikes make during the day and night! Even the baby wakes up from sleep whether it’s during the day or night.
I’m *praying* really hard that we can find a similarly-priced apartment in a more peaceful location we can move into soon…
5. LACK OF PRIVACY
With a population of 1.3 people,I truly sympathise with the Chinese’ lack of privacy. Unless they are very, very rich, they live in cramped spaces and can see and hear almost everything that goes on in each others’ households.
Due to this, they don’t seem to understand the concept of “personal space“. It’s quite common to find the local Chinese talk to you within just 5-6 inches of your face Honestly, I had to gently push a preschool teacher away from me when she spoke to me – another preschool teacher whispered to her that foreigners don’t like to be that close. She apologized but I said it’s OK, now she knows…
Also, you may find super Snoopy Chinese who think nothing about walking into your apartment and going into each of your bedrooms to survey your place! Seriously, I found it really rude (esp when I had piles of unfolded laundry in my boudoir LOL) but a helpful Chinese friend told me it’s nothing to them but she did tell that friend to be a bit more respectful.
The worst is when they have personal problems: Hubby once saw a woman yell at and slap her cheating husband’s face in a restaurant (he was still checking SMSes from his mistress in front of her). I have witnessed several women sobbing loudly as they break up with their lovers (you can hear the conversation quite clearly) at KFC, McDonald’s or along the corridors of shopping malls…
Since I’m quite tired out from writing about the first 5 worst habits, you’ll have to hang on for the next 5 worst habits.
P/S Sorry for this bashing-up, be assured that I’ll follow up with a post called “The Chinese’ 10 Best Habits”